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Transcripts of Selected Group Discussions on CYC-Net

Since it's founding in 1997, the CYC-Net discussion group has been asked thousands of questions. These questions often generate many replies from people in all spheres of the Child and Youth Care profession and contain personal experiences, viewpoints, as well as recommended resources.

Below are some of the threads of discussions on varying Child and Youth Care related topics.

Questions and Responses have been reproduced verbatim.

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Attachment theory?

Two queries:

1. Afternoon,

I have registered for a Masters degree at the University of the Western Cape. The research question that I will attempt to answer is "The impact on parents when their children are removed through a statutory process.” The theoretical framework I am using is Attachment Theory. My question is whether anyone can suggest readings on this topic and, if so could you please send me further information or links.


2. Hi,

I would also be incredibly interested in any information anyone may have on attachment theory. I’m looking at the social/emotional impact on children from the ages of 8-12. How being relocated across the united States with one parent affects these children, when leaving the other parent, siblings and extended family behind. Couldn’t this also affect their education? Any literature or insight would be helpful. Thank you.


Gabor Mate. He is truly amazing and his approach is right from childhood through trauma experiences and he believes attachment is repairable. I have been working on rebuilding this through my grown children and it has been working. Attachment is so important and all of us as parents, caregivers, and the Ministry of Children and Family Development need to grasp this before future generations grow up with brokenness. Best of luck.

One book is Hold on to Your Kids by Gordon Neufield and Gordon Mate


Greetings Alfred!

Your topic is really an interesting one and relevant to the current situation faced by both parents and practitioners (a dilemma for both).

The materials that comes to mind are:

1. Bowlby theory
2. Ainsworth and Bowlby
3. Cater & Mcgoldrick
4. Salvadoe Minuchi
5. Children related Policies
6. Values embedded in the profession

Most of the information is a bit old (outdated) but I would assume that there are articles that might have been developed around this topic.

Good luck Alfred.


If you visit CYC-Net you will find a search box at the top right hand corner of the front page. You are able to carry out a keyword search there, e.g. attachment, which should find you many interesting articles on the subject – Eds.)

Sounds excellent.
I recommend getting in touch with Judy Atkinson, Indigenous Elder from Australia.

Judy runs We Al-li which you can find at

Go Well!


Bowlby and Ainsworth are critical to understanding the development of Attachment theory (safe base, internal working models, etc.)

You might also take a look at Mary Main's work in adult attachment and also Sue Bartholomew at Simon Fraser University and her four attachment styles in adolescence:

Hesse and then Fonaghy also contributed to the attachment conceptualizations.

All the best with your project Alfred


Hello – best to you on an interesting and important research project.

While attachment theory is a good entry point for understanding how children and young people adapt to circumstances beyond their control, I would also draw to your attention soci-cultural approaches found within the sociology of childhood which include indicators for race-based assumptions, political, historical, gendered, sexual identity, and poverty contexts. Bronfenbrenner gets at some of this with his 'nested' framework, but to pull out individual children without looking at these larger contexts is to risk missing something 'incredibly' important and interesting.

In our Canadian context, for example, the Indian Act (originally created in 1876) is a race-based, historical context for colonial settler relations that had huge impacts on kids being uprooted in the '60's scoop' (which took place across the US as well). Looking at how individual kids cope, adapt and become resilient – or not – without taking socio-cultural and historical factors into account can often lead to very different findings and conclusions in research projects.

Best of luck in your work.

kind regards,


Dr. Marlene Moretti (and colleagues) have written extensively on the relationship between attachment and mental health (as we conceptualize it in the Western world). More specifically, her work has focused on the use of attachment theory to better understand aggression and violence, and the development of attachment-based parenting programs for youth engaging in high risk behaviours (like the CONNECT Parent Group). You can find a full list of articles and chapters at under the "Research" heading.

From one Masters student to another – all the best!


Hi Alfred and Michelle,

I attended a conference in Sydney Aus in 2014 where Professor Gillian Schofield, Centre for Research on Families and Children, University of East Anglia, UK spoke about her research and work with parents of children who had been removed through the statutory system. Her work may be of help.

In addition Nicola Atwool of Otago University in New Zealand has written extensively on attachment theory and her doctorate thesis called The role of Attachment Assessments in Making Decisions for Children in Care makes good reading.


I’d recommend Daniel Hughes’ work wholeheartedly, especially one book Building the Bonds of Attachment, and another by Kate Cairns: Attachment, Trauma and Resilience.

I agree with others that concepts of historical and generational trauma coming out of the American Indian community are integral to understanding the role histories of colonialism, racism, and classism have had in constructing the child welfare system.

Also, while the following are more theoretical and critical of the helping professions, Ivan Illich's Disabling Professions, John Mcknight’s The Uncaring Society and Specht and Courtney’s Desolation Angels all offer prescient critiques of social services as industrialization of caring that is now more interested in advocating for itself rather than in creating any stable social institutions that could produce safety or stability for families, let alone children removed from family.

Good luck. Make waves.

Peter DeLong

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